Rooftop tents are great, as they give you a shelter that’s elevated from the cold, hard ground, making it a potentially more comfortable indoor space in the wild. Only downside is you have to climb up and down a ladder every time, so popping in and out of the tent takes a little more effort than a standard tent that’s pitched on the ground. The Thule Outset offers a third alternative.
Designed to mount on the hitch of your car, it gives you a tent that’s ideal for car camping, all while pitching at near ground level, so you can get in and out with ease. No need to deploy a ladder each time out – just slip into the tent and step out any time you want just like you do on any ground-pitched shelter.
The Thule Outset is a tent that’s been purpose-built to mount on the rear hitch of a car. When folded up, it sits neatly in the back with the appearance of a hitch-mounted cargo box, allowing you to leave the roof rack free for loading other gear. Once you’re at camp, the tent can be deployed while still connected to the tow bar, so you can keep your shelter right next to your car the entire time. Do note, the tent has its own stand that keeps it upright on its own, so you can disconnect it from the hitch and park the car somewhere else.
The stand is probably one of the most important elements of this tent. More than keeping the tent upright, it elevates it around a foot or so above the ground, so you still get to keep distance from the cold and hard surface, albeit at a shorter distance compared to a standard rooftop tent. It uses telescoping legs on the stand, by the way, which should make it easier to get it level, regardless of whatever surface the campground has to offer.
Once deployed, the Thule Outset looks roomy enough for two adults, with openings on three sides that should allow excellent views inside the tent, while allowing for convenient entry and exit. It comes with an all-metal frame that provides the tent’s structure, with soft shell walls and roof to keep the elements out. No word on yet on how easy or tough it is to assemble, but it does look like you’ll have to put some things together, so it will probably take a bit of time.
As of now, it’s all a basic tent setup, with no awnings, no cargo space, and no fancy additions. According to Thule, it’s currently still in development, so the ones they’re showing off at trade shows and on the video below is the current prototype. That means, it’s still likely to see some changes down the line, which is why the outfit hasn’t released any detailed about the tent’s specs. Hopefully, this turns out well because a hitch-mounted tent definitely seems like an interesting new addition to the space.
The Thule Outset is slated for release in summer of 2024. You can learn more from the link below.